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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Swatting Gnats Buzzing Around Bill Redpath

All of the things Dan Grow says the LP "used to say" are in fact still covered by the principles of the 2008 LP Platform, with these major exceptions:
  • "government [should not be] allowed to hold assets"
  • "default is preferable to raising taxes or perpetual refinancing of growing public debt"
  • "repeal of all taxation"
  • tax amnesty
and these minor ones:  making the census voluntary; private encryption; random stops; curfews; compulsory education;  native Americans.

However, note our Omissions plank: "Our silence about any other particular government law, regulation, ordinance, directive, edict, control, regulatory agency, activity, or machination should not be construed to imply approval."  And of course, Dan would surely claim that everything he advocates follows inexorably from these principles in our Platform: "force and fraud must be banished from human relationships [...] we defend each person's right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest [...] all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose."

However, even in the context of the current bailout mania, Redpath should indeed have included personal liberties along with economic liberties in his list of LP promises.   That's why the platform is split into Personal Liberty and Economic Liberty sections: to highlight the theme that we are not Left, not Right, but Libertarian.

Brian Miller's diatribe is reality-challenged. Redpath's list takes no "swipes at the UAW", and in fact "opposes government subsidies to business, labor, or any other special interest".  Miller calls the list "neocon talking points", but the signature position of neoconservatism -- foreign interventionism -- is utterly absent both from Redpath's list and from all LP statements.  Miller of course cannot quote Aaron Starr being an "outspoken proponent of foreign military interventionism".  The event that precipitated the founding of the LP was not the Vietnam War, but Nixon's closing of the gold window and imposition of wage and price controls.  The idea that "people concerned about vanishing liberties typically value ALL of them" is nonsense.  ACLU leftists tend not to value economic liberties, and AEI rightists tend not to value personal liberties (unless exercised the way the majority exercises them).  As for our growth opportunity among non-voters, I'm not aware of any polling data showing that non-voters make for better libertarian prospects.  The one data point I've seen on this says that 15% of voters lean libertarian, compared to 13% of Americans overall.